Barcelona vs Celta preview

January 10, 2018
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Following the 1-1 draw in the first leg at Balaidos, Barcelona are in the driving seat, but they will have to take the return match seriously, no doubts about that.

Celta Vigo have now held both the Catalans and Real Madrid in the first two games in the New Year, and they will be looking to extend the promising run.

Barcelona are enjoying a very promising season this term, having so far impressed in all the competitions entered, but it is still early to be speaking about a successful campaign.

The Catalans are the favourites to pip Chelsea to the Champions League quarter-finals, while their league campaign has been going even better than expected.

While Barcelona hold a nine-point advantage at the league summit, they are huge 16 points in front of bitter rivals Real Madrid, meaning the title is theirs to lose.

On the other hand, the Catalans hope to eliminate Celta Vigo on the road to yet another Copa del Rey trophy, but they cannot afford to relax after the 1-1 draw in the first match.

While new signing Philippe Coutinho is not yet ready to feature, the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen and Jordi Alba have recovered from injury.

Forward Paco Alcacer is still not ready to feature, but Sergio Busquets is available after missing the Levante game through suspension.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Cillessen – Semedo, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba – Paulinho, S. Busquets, Andre Gomes – Messi, L. Suarez, Dembele.

Celta Vigo haven’t quite impressed in the first part of the season, but there is still plenty of time for them to make things right.

Recent results are enough to suggest the Sky Blues are slowly returning to the right track, with away win over Deportivo La Coruna and back to back draws vs Barcelona and Real Madrid seriously improving the players’ confidence.

And even though the priority now is to improve the poor league position (15th), Celta will also attempt to eliminate mighty Barcelona from the Copa del Rey.

The Sky Blues have done pretty well on the road this season, scoring 21 goals in 10 games, and not failing to find the net in any of those matches.

But, with head coach Unzue fielding very strong sides in the first two games of the year, tired legs might prove to be a problem.

New signing Robert Mazan will be in contention, but Swedish striker John Guidetti has left the club and joined Deportivo Alaves.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Alvarez – Mallo, Cabral, Fontas, Jonny – Wass, Lobotka, Hernandez, Sisto – M. Gomez, Aspas.

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